Are Your Videos Champions of Your Brand?

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it’s safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and it doesn’t work, then what do you do? Answer: Consider your branding checklist! Video production is nothing short of being an ambassador of your brand’s strategy. Video, just like with your other advertising tools, is something that has to be maintained regularly. Most times when a campaign has failed, it’s because of confusion with your brand.

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it’s safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and it doesn’t work, then what do you do? Answer: Consider your branding checklist! Video production is nothing short of being an ambassador of your brand’s strategy. Video, just like with your other advertising tools, is something that has to be maintained regularly. Most times when a campaign has failed, it’s because of confusion with your brand.

Let’s ask a couple of valid questions that you will want to consider to help keep you inline with your video production when it comes to using this as part of your marketing mix.

Keep these questions in mind when producing your company’s videos:

  • How are you communicating?
  • What are you communicating?
  • When and how often do you communicate to your customers?
  • Who are the most important people to communicate to?

Video is meant to solve a direct and specific problem. If your project is meant to create more brand loyalty, then that needs to be in your message. How often you solve problems is just as important. If the last video you created on your website was from last year, or before there was digital film, perhaps a fresh new approach could lead to better results. The other element most people forget when branding through video is the emotional aspect. Were people connecting to the video because they could relate to it? If your video has not been resonating with enough people through your campaign, you haven’t given them enough reasons to love you. Your video production needs to focus on that problem and how your brand solves it.

Since your brand helps people solve problems, don’t be afraid to get creative, but remember to stride for champions of your brand. Many things can achieve brand loyalty, use humor, and hire talent that people relate to. Your goal should always be cultivating loyalty. Don’t forget to measure that loyalty by checking your analytics before and after. You can also request a survey by the viewers to see if you’re hitting the mark.

If what you’re doing isn’t working, then don’t be afraid to change it. Don’t get stuck on results of one idea. If the first video didn’t work, try something different. Marketing is an on going process. As a business owner, you have to get used to regularly changing marketing tactics. Don’t be afraid to be flexible and update your videos often. If your competition is changing their video content often, then why isn’t it a part of your plan?

Let’s talk about your competitors for a minute. Are they going after the same business you’re going after? Don’t they have the same customers that you have? If they have video production that clearly defines their brand, then wouldn’t you think your responsibility to your clients is to do the same only better? If the videos that they have on their website are done professionally with clear messages, then why would you cut costs and provide your clients with 3 minutes of you talking in front of a messy desk from your iPhone using a flash light or the lamp you picked up in the 80’s? Let’s face it, you’ll have to step up your game, or you will lose.

If you’re going to recruit someone in video production to help brand you, it is imperative to find someone who can deliver the following:

  • Someone who clearly understands your core values
  • Someone who will be loyal to your brand
  • Someone who can be a champion of your brand?

The more you demand that this is done with every employee and vendor, the more success you’ll have.

Now for your slice of humble pie: Ask yourself if you’re living by these standards?

Do you embrace your own concepts? Are you passionate about your brand? How loyal are to you to your own company? Do you have a solid plan for your brand and are you sticking to it?

Coming up with a concrete knowledge to your brand strategy and gripping your marketing plan will not only bare you results, you will have a more rigid foundation to launch this and the rest of your campaigns with confidence and security.

Using Video Production as Part of Your Customer Retention Strategy

Video is a tool designed to communicate with your customers. If you follow the statistic “80 percent of your future revenue will come from 20 percent of your current customers,” you know that the greatest part is to keep your customers happy so they keep coming back. The best way to preserve your clients is to keep them engaged.  You can keep your clients engaged by offering new videos about your product or service

How strong is your relationship with your customers? Do you have a customer retention strategy in place for your business? What are you doing to maintain your customers loyalty?

These questions are extremely important, and it’s up to you to come up with ways to maintain a healthy system designed to keep your customers and help them grow with you not against you. These hints will give you some fresh ideas that you might not have considered to plan on growing your client retention.

Video is a tool designed to communicate with your customers. If you follow the statistic “80 percent of your future revenue will come from 20 percent of your current customers,” you know that the greatest part is to keep your customers happy so they keep coming back. The best way to preserve your clients is to keep them engaged. You can keep your clients engaged by offering new videos about your product or service. Be careful not to over due it with the social media. People will get angry if you spam them out on Facebook and the like. Thinking of new ways to communicate to your clients is a big responsibility, but with a few solid ideas, you can give your customers a dose of encouragement and keep them wanting to know more about what you can provide for them.

Video can be a great answer as it’s good for promotions, technical issues, special discounts, customer appreciation, etc., etc., etc. Keeping the client engaged is one thing, but the end goal should be to keep your clients devoted to you and your brand. Video allows you to communicate with the message you want them to receive while sending that message to more of your clients. Although this can never take the place of the human element in communication, it can be a terrific alternative for when you need to send the message to the masses.

Here are some ideas that will help gain trust with your clients, keep them remembering your products, and accepting your messages.

  1. Product review
  2. Customer support, repair, assembly
  3. Customer conferences
  4. Customer testimonials
  5. Employee testimonials
  6. New product launch
  7. Webinars
  8. Video newsletters and blogging

Video featuring your product or someone talking about a focused area of your service can be extremely effective, not only by gaining a lot of attention on YouTube, but also developing trust by demonstrating your product online. Remember to have a lot of cutaways and b-roll (the images that support the dialogue).

Customer support, repair and videos of assembling a product can not only be useful to post online, they can save you money by not hiring staff to answer specific and common questions. There is customer service 24/7. More companies are using Vine for this type of video communication. Vine is great because you can create video with your cell phone. However, remember that these can only be short videos. Companies like The Gap have found this to be a unique tool to their culture.

Customer conferences are great and you can get some exposure through press releases announcing the conference. Depending on the success of the conference, often times you can gain some additional sales through word of mouth. Word of mouth is the best advertising possible.

Testimonials are always terrific for people looking to do business with new companies. Testimonials can be effective by selecting real clients, with real stories that they can relate to. Also, give your interviewee enough time to prepare what they would like to say. Remember not everyone is comfortable around the camera. Even a cell phone can be intimidating when you aren’t sure what to say.

Any time you have a new product a video, it should be on your marketing strategy. People love to read about new products, but they love it even more when they can find out pertinent information about that product for 30 seconds. Disney Collector BR on YouTube discovered a way to make a living from product reviews. She has over 800,000 subscribers who want to know what the toy features before buying it.

When it comes to B-to-B marketing, one of the best ways to make an impact on your clients is by hosting a webinar. Incorporate video subscription to those that want to attend but cant, so that they don’t miss your important message. Webinars are great because they are informative as well as valuable.

Last but not least is the use of video blogs. When your clients are interested in what you have to offer a newsletter or blog keeping them updated helps to build a relationship with them. I know many executives that utilize this method of communicating to their teams overseas and abroad.

There are thousands of terrific ideas for using video as part of your customer retention strategy. Video can always be measured by viewership and analytics. In any case if your goal is to get your clients to be loyal to your brand then using video as part of that net will be sure to help you succeed.

7 Ways to Polish Your Video Concept and Message

Whether you’ve been using video to market your product or services for a long time or are just getting started, there is always the question of content: “What do I do a video about”? Let’s face it, there are more bad video’s on YouTube than good ones. This week’s article will focus on seven steps to polish your idea process.

Whether you have been using video to market your product or services for a long time or are just getting started, there is always the question of content: “What do I do a video about?” Let’s face it, there are more bad videos on YouTube than good ones. This may be due to so many people not giving enough thought or planning time to the video for it to be successful. With a little planning and serious thought, you can still have a successful marketing campaign for your video production.

Let’s focus on the first question that you need to ask yourself to kick off your pre-production procedure: What is your Message?

How will you present your message? Are you excited about your topic? If you aren’t, how in the world will the viewers be excited? Consider the obvious: Does it fit in with your demographics? Is it going to resonate with your viewer?

Once you figure out what your message is, consider how you will present that message. Should you have a spokesperson? Should you deliver the message yourself? Should it be serious or humorous? Is it in line with what is trending? Does it have a strong enough message that your viewers will be compelled to do what you want them to do?

Don’t be afraid to try something different. Humor is always great as long as it’s funny. Do you have a team of people who will give you honest opinions when they critique what you’re doing? Is this educational? Is it informative? Does it touch their emotions? Does your video solve a problem or answer the viewer’s questions?

Remember, once you upload something to YouTube, it’s going to be there forever. Regardless of whether you set it to private; if anyone looks hard enough, they can find it. More importantly, is your video’s concept sustainable? This is where the well thought-out game plan is more important. A video that has an interesting message or solves someone’s problem will have the longevity and continuity of being watched, even years after it’s first posted.

Do you have a special announcement to make? Publicity videos are a great way to get your message out there with a soft-selling approach. A message from the CEO is also affective and can get your message out there quickly. Just remember that videos that last over 60 seconds tend to get boring.

Now that you have a few great pointers to consider, start with a list of 10 video ideas. Share with the critics who will most reliably give you a real opinion. Once you’ve narrowed down the idea, create the message. Research the message on line to see what others are saying about it. Script it or storyboard it out, and then plan carefully.

  1. Ask some of your employees or staff to develop ideas based on common themes they see or hear from your market
  2. Read journals, blogs and trade magazines that are related to your business
  3. Search the Internet for video’s that are similar and copy from the masters
  4. Write 10 ideas, then draw from a hat
  5. Watch the news to check for trends
  6. Ask your clients directly
  7. Develop a video production journal

Executing the idea is the hardest part. If you do your research and have a well thought-out plan, then you will surely succeed. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas. Some will work, while others will not. It’s better to try than to fail wishing because you didn’t try, as long as your video is focused.

Manage Your Team, and Answer Important Questions While You Travel

Did you realize that you have a way to communicate with your team right in your back pocket? True or False: Only wealthy companies use video and film production? Statement: It’s impossible to be two places at once. Did you realize that even while you’re traveling you could answer questions, and keep your team informed? If you travel heavily for your company and are an executive or leader, this article will help you by offering some new communication solutions

Did you realize that you have a way to communicate with your team right in your back pocket? True or False: Only wealthy companies use video and film production? Statement: It’s impossible to be two places at once. Did you realize that even while you’re traveling you could answer questions, and keep your team informed? If you travel heavily for your company and are an executive or leader, this article will help you by offering some new communication solutions.

The types of video production companies use now vary considerably. Anything from sales presentations, corporate communications, customer service, tutorials and internal communications are media treasures.

These types of videos can be there to serve both the client and your employees. The other forms of video production include staff training, employee orientation, safety procedures, promotional video and financial reports. The key point to remember here is they can be viewed on several different devices—iPad, computer, and, of course, mobile phone.

Video can be used as a heavy-duty communication machine even while you’re traveling the tundra. Utilizing video platforms like Skype, Livestream and Google+ Hangouts will put you in front of your employees so you can continue to disperse your companies propaganda, even while miles away. This allows your employees to be not only informed, but to have an emotional connection to you as if you are still present, even when absent.

Some types of video production can cost next to nothing to create. For example, Instagram, Vine, Skype, Facetime and Google + Hangouts. These are simple to use and can be viewed individually or as a group; which allows you to continue to lead your team even if it’s in a busy airport. These platforms give you the ability to promulgate to a tailored crowd. You can choose to speak to one person, several or the entire staff.

The other benefit here is that you can be in several places at once. I bet you wish you could clone yourself so that you can be everywhere at the same time. With telegenic devices, you are able to be in multiple locations, which can save you time and money.

HR Professionals are finding these assets invaluable to effectively inform their troops and train their employees on important factors such as safety, company policies and procedures. The same message is given each time to each individual, allowing more control over the communiqué distributed among the new and existing hires.

While any of these types of television programs would be effective and work, here are some more advanced ideas for the use of video in communicating to your present crowd. Use a thumbnail video in your email signature. This could be a general message from the CEO, President or possibly an HR Supervisor.

One of the best devices that I’ve seen this used with is a USB stick. Placing your corporate mini movie on this type of device is sure to get people interested in what’s on it. We can’t help but be curious when a gadget is in the palm of our hands.

What’s the best way to get started by utilizing these simulcast luxuries? This would be some solid hypothesis; Ask the people that have the most questions directed to them at your company. Have them write up to 10 topics that these videos could address. Do this with the answers to those questions, and Voila!, you have a script created for your first production.

Next, decide who will be your audience. Directly address them individually or within the group. Make the dialogue interesting, as if you were right there in the same room—because technically you are.

Then decide what the best way to distribute this message should be. Should it be Live? Do you want to ensure that they will see it? Do you want this to be measurable and traceable? Consider the style as well. Do you want it to be comical, motivational or serious in nature? A financial report to your stock holders may need to be handled with kid gloves, while a safety video that is going to be viewed by the group and needs to be remembered, and comedy can often be more memorable, even on serious subjects.

I hope that this discussion has sparked a few new ways for you to interface with your peers. If anything, perhaps it’s helped answer the question of how can you communicate with the team while abroad? Either way, I’m sure you will remember that the use of video isn’t always obvious but still effective.

Any further discussion or ideas to be added can be sent to me at egrey@hermanadvertising.com.

Which Costs More: Video or Direct Mail?

What are the economics of producing and distributing a direct marketing video? And, how does it line up with costs for direct mail? If you’re a traditional direct marketer who has lived and breathed marketing costs, then running the numbers should come naturally. For this discussion, we’ll use direct mail as the comparison because historically it’s the distribution channel of choice

What are the economics of producing and distributing a direct marketing video? And, how does it line up with costs for direct mail? If you’re a traditional direct marketer who has lived and breathed marketing costs, then running the numbers should come naturally. For this discussion, we’ll use direct mail as the comparison because historically it’s the distribution channel of choice for direct marketers.

We’ve created a “Video Budget Checklist” that helps you itemize cost comparisons of creative, production and distribution between video and direct mail. If you’d like a copy, email me using the link in the left column. It’s free for our readers.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it)

Direct mail can come in all sorts of configurations. Low-cost postcards. A simple package of a letter and flyer inside an envelope. Or more expensive with multiple enclosures such as a letter, fold-out four-color brochure, lift note, order form, reply envelope and outer envelope. Sometimes the outer envelope is a custom size or has an oversize window, or there are expensive die-cuts on cards or tip-on elements that are outside of typical print configuration.

The fixed costs to create each of these packages by employees, agencies or freelance creative teams are pretty broad, from several hundred dollars to well into the five-figures when using proven, top-flight direct response creative professionals.

A wide range of configurations can apply to video production, just as it can to direct mail.

You can pop out a 45-second video using your Webcam or flip-camera and post it on YouTube. You just have to ask yourself if the poorly lit, distracting background, muffled or echoey sound of that presentation exemplifies your organization. Alternatively, the video could be purely voice-over with words scrolling along on the screen. Or you can make it visually more alive with photography images or stock video footage. At a more costly level, you might shoot testimonials or interviews in a studio or shoot on location to demonstrate your product. Of course, length impacts cost (just as the number of components impacts cost in direct mail). There are a lot of variables that go into video production, just as there are for direct mail.

The point is this: Start with a budget you’re comfortable with, talk with writers (ideally writers experienced in both direct response print, online and video), develop a video script and storyboard, and work with a skilled video editor. Don’t just be wowed by special effects on someone’s demo reel. Dig in and learn what results were produced from some samples or case studies. You might just want voice-over with images on screen. (See our last blog post for an example of a 3-minute video and details of how we adapted it from a direct mail package.)

If your personality is a draw, you can record yourself on a small camera that can fit in a pocket with a lav microphone for under $200, total. Make sure you have good lighting and background. Or spring $500 or so and get a green screen and lights. That’s the equipment we use to shoot our video for this blog. Be aware, assembling the right equipment and editing software is the easy part. Knowing how to use it all to your best advantage comes from training and practice—or hiring a pro.

Distribution Costs
For direct mail, you have list costs if you’re renting names, data processing, printing, lettershop and postage. The cost can range widely. If you’re testing in small quantities, you’ll pay more per piece.

Knowing the volume of prospects or prior customers to mail, the marketer calculates how many responses are needed to make a specific profit (or break-even) objective. Translate that number into a required response rate to meet your objectives—your allowable marketing cost—and presto, you can use the test of reasonableness to see if the numbers pan out.

For video, your distribution cost is driving viewers to your landing page. You might email your customer file, or rent a list, and give the reader a compelling reason to click to your landing page to watch the video, possibly opt-in for more information, or attempt to convert to a buyer then. You will need to include the cost to set-up the landing page and related items.

We suggest you begin with a budget where your objective is to create a video for the amount of money it would cost to produce a moderate to elaborate direct mail package (although video production on the cheap is possible—and might work).

Then compare the cost to print and mail a direct mail package versus that of emailing (whether it’s to customers at a low cost to email, or rent an email list at a higher cost). And add in the cost for developing your landing page. Chances are your cost per contact will be less for email and the landing page, but as we all know, it all comes down to the cost per sale or lead so bring your focus back to this metric.

One example worth mentioning is that of the Dollar Shave Club. Perhaps you’ve read about it. A big success for a 1:34 video that reportedly cost $4,500 and after a few days generated over 12,000 orders. The video has now been viewed over 4.6 million times.

Bottom line: just as you’d run the numbers to see if it makes financial sense to use direct mail, you need to run the numbers for video, too. And you just might be surprised how favorable the numbers look to reach out and explore video.

P.S.: Just out: comScore has released its April 2012 online video rankings data with a few notable metrics:

  1. 181 million U.S. Internet users watched nearly 37 billion online content videos in April.
  2. 85.5 percent of U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  3. The duration of the average online content video was 6.4 minutes.